Our Son @DaytonMomsBlog

Almost two weeks ago we celebrated Eli’s first birthday. We gave him his own cupcake so he could go to town and make a mess and spread icing all over his face.

His birthday wasn’t just a celebration of his birth, but also of adoption. Cheryl wrote about her thoughts about Eli’s birth mom as we prepared to have his first birthday.

In final paragraph, she writes this:

Tomorrow he turns 1, and as I tuck him in bed, and kiss him, I’m thinking of you. I’m thinking of how far you have come from a short year ago, and what the future holds. I’m remembering how God answered my prayer and made it evident to me that our stories should be woven together, with one minute to spare. Tomorrow I’ll tell him how much we love him and tell him how much you love him and look forward to when we can celebrate his birthday together.

Adoption has taught us so many things  and we often think of our “extended family” as we go through the milestones of parenting.  Check out the entire post on Dayton Moms Blog.

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What’s Your Parenting Style?

photo credit: Phuketian.S Khao Sok national park via photopin (license)

I receive regular emails from Growing Leaders and today’s blog post was so interesting to me that I wanted to share it.

There is much written about the Millennial generation and Generation Z, but this article (and the related video) focuses on the parents and identifies potential parenting styles.  The author said in the beginning of the video:

“I believe we not only have a new generation of kids today (referring to Generation Z), we have a new generation of parents.”

The author identifies four different parenting styles and explains the potential hazards of that style of parenting.

  1. The Snowplow Parent
  2. The Karaoke Parent
  3. The Dry Cleaner Parent
  4. The Volcano Parent

If you take the time to read the description of each, you may have a name of a parent you know that fits that description.  There may be times where you see yourself in one or more of those styles.  I don’t believe his desire is to demean parents, but rather help us see how we can continue to be better parents to our kids.

In the second paragraph of the article the author writes, “Most parents I meet want to be a good parent. At times, however, we can’t draw the line between mothering and smothering; fathering and bothering.”

Whether you agree with everything he says or not, I think this raises some interesting food for thought for those of us who are parents.

You can read the article What’s Your Parenting Style to see the first four.  There is a form at the bottom of the article which will take you to a page to read the other two styles (a total of six).

There is a video (about 30 minutes long) that you can watch, but also some video notes if you don’t want to watch the entire video.  He does make some interesting observations about Generation Z which might be helpful to consider.

No one is a perfect parent and all of us are learning “on the job.”  Hopefully you will find some value in what is shared about parenting styles.

Parenting 2.0 @DaytonMomsBlog

Cheryl is back on the Dayton Moms Blog today and her post looks at parenting in this season of our lives.

Many of you have read about our adoption journey as we have added two little boys to our family over the past 5 years. This Sunday (April 22) we will celebrate our four-year old’s Gotcha Day and we finalized the adoption of our youngest on February 14 of this year.

Cheryl writes about some of the things she has learned through parenting and how her view of being a mom has evolved over the years.  Here’s one example of what has changed:

At 25 and 29, I was obsessed with if my child was turning over when they should, and cooing the right way.  If I had a friend whose child did things sooner or better than mine, I would fret all night and doubt myself as a mother.  I wasted so much energy and lost so much sleep fretting over things that simply don’t matter.  

Parenting 2.0 taught me that every child is different and unique, and comparing them to other children isn’t helpful to them or you.

Go check out the post and marvel at the wisdom of my wife!

Looking Back on our Mexico Trip 2018

We started planning for our Mexico 2018 trip in the summer of 2017. After months of planning and emails and meetings and fund-raising, we were able to make the trip over Spring Break (March 26-30). We flew from Columbus to Phoenix and then drove to Rocky Point, Mexico, to meet our house build family and get to work on their house. In two and a half days we were able to work together with the family and the 1MISSION team to provide a home for Cesar, Carmen and Carlos.

As I think back on the trip, I found myself thinking about people.

CESAR. Even though there was a language barrier (I know barely a handful of Spanish words), we were able to communicate and connect with Cesar. Here was a young man who is a husband, a father of a four-year old and preparing to welcome a son this summer. He was able to express one evening his gratitude to 1MISSION and our team for the opportunity to earn this home. He spoke about his love for his wife and his excitement to have a home after the struggles he and Carmen had in the past. You could just sense his gratitude.

On the first day of the build, Cesar wanted to express his thankfulness to the work team. His job is that he is a vendor, selling fruit bowls and various drinks from a portable stand that he sets up on a street corner in the tourist area of Rocky Point. He made us a coconut beverage that he sells from his stand. It was a refreshing drink that was his way of saying “thanks.”

As we worked together, I saw the care that he was taking in building this house. As we mixed concrete, I saw him pull out large rocks from the gravel and concrete mix. I watched as he examined the walls and made sure there were no nails sticking out. As we put stucco on the exterior I saw him going through and smoothing out spots and adding stucco here and there. While I knew it in my mind, it hit me again: we were building his house; this was his HOME. It was a good reminder to me that to him this was way more than just a mission trip or building project; this was a home for his family.

PEDRO.  When we took our first trip with 1MISSION, Pedro lived at the base camp.  He welcomed us and served as our host.  This time when we arrived, Pedro didn’t live at the base camp.  He and his family live in town so he can devote for of his time to the work of connecting with families and leading a team of 20 who oversee the community development for 1MISSION.

I had a chance to talk with Pedro for a few minutes one morning and found out that he is helping to plant two churches in Rocky Point.  He said that one of the churches had 50 adults in attendance that most recent Sunday along with “a lot of kids.”  He also shared that a high percentage of the families who attend are families who have received homes through 1MISSION.

In Pedro, I see a man who has a heart for the people of Mexico and is giving his life and energy to making a difference.

There is a recent blog post on the 1MISSION site which gives some insight on who Pedro and is and what he does.

OUR TEAM.  The first time we went to Mexico we took a total of 14 and 5 in our group were students.  This year our group number was 20 and 12 in our group were students.  15 of our group had not been to Mexico before and a few had not ever been on a plane.  So, I was mindful of the fact that I had a number of parents who entrusted the care of their student to me to take them to another country and bring them back safely.  Our team did great!

As far as the building of the house, we stayed either on or ahead of schedule through the process.  The students (and the rest of the group) jumped in to do what was needed and kept us on track.

Beyond that our group did a good job of connecting with our build family and the people in the neighborhood.  There were a number of students in the neighborhood and our crew took the time to talk with them, learn their names, play some games with them and have some fun together.  They even got to hold brand new puppies!

We had a great experience and are thankful for the opportunity to go to Mexico and work with 1MISSION.  We also had a number of people support us in various ways and we are truly grateful for that.

Here is a recap video we put together of a number of the pictures we took over the week.  It will give  you a small window into our time at Rocky Point.

Another Way to Support our Mexico Team ’18 // March 4 & 11

Our team of 20 is making preparations for our trip to Rocky Point, Mexico, March 26-30 . . . we are about one month away!

Many in our church family offered their support by purchasing a Build Hope shirt. We sent in our second order last week and between the two orders we purchased almost 80 shirts. The sale of those shirts will generate approximately $500 for our team. Thanks to all who ordered shirts.

Our group, along with help from our church family, has provided concessions at a Karate Tournament in late January and continues to provide concessions at our Upward Basketball League. Our Upward families are generous in not only buying items, but also donating toward our trip.

Many of our team members have sent out support letters to family and friends to assist with the fundraising part of our trip.

There is another way our WCC family can support our team. On Sunday, March 4 and Sunday, March 11 we will have the Green Buckets set out around the Ministry Center. Anyone who desires to give toward the trip can use the buckets for that purpose. This is, of course, on top of what individuals and families give to the church. We don’t want to take away from the support that is already going to ministries and missions in our community and around the world. We are grateful for the support that so many have already shown us. If you desire to help with trip, the green buckets are another way to do that.

Below is our team for ’18. I’m excited that we have a dozen high school students, a few returning members from our ’16 trip and even family members participating in our adventure together.

Please keep this group in your prayers as we prepare to serve in Mexico.

’18 Mexico Team
Rachel Barker
Angela Blouse
Jacob Blouse
Zach Davis
Ken Driscoll
Lauren Ellis
Andrew Garrett
Megan Halloran
Matthew Horn
Cory Huffman
Drew Huffman
Christian McCamish
Beth Puckett
Talent Sagraves
Shane Streber
Terri Streber
Nathan Twine
Calvin Walls
Jeff Walls
Tony Brackemyre

A Unique Thought On The Vine and the Branches (John 15)

One of the passages I’ve heard used a lot when it comes to our relationship with Jesus is John 15. Jesus talks about the fact that He is the Vine, we are the branches and, if we want to bear fruit, we need to remain in Him. We can’t bear fruit by ourselves; we need to stay connected to Him.

I’ve heard that passage referenced in many sermons and talks and I’ve used it a number of times myself. It’s a clear image of how we grow in our relationship with Jesus.

Recently I started reading Beth Guckenberger’s latest book Start With Amen. In one chapter she offers a unique perspective on the opening verses of the chapter.

In verse 2 of John 15, Jesus says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

One view of that verses – and the view that I had – is that if a branch doesn’t bear fruit, the gardener cuts it off. The one that bears fruit he prunes. If the branch is not producing, it will be cut off.

Guckenberger admits doesn’t know much about pruning and tending vines (neither do I). She writes that she had the opportunity to listen to a Bible teacher talk about this passage while they were in an actual vineyard. She retells that a vinedresser, when coming across a branch that is laying on the ground and it’s fruit is drying up, wants to protect the future potential of the vine. So instead of cutting off the branch, the gardener would take a small wooden stake and prop up the vine, with the hope that it would receive sunlight and moisture and learn to grow more fruit.

The Greek word used in this passage is airo. It could be translated as “cut off,” but also as “pick up.” Guckenberger points to other scripture passages that translate the word as “pick up.” The potential take away is that instead of cutting off the branch that is not bearing fruit, the vinedresser picks it up.

That is a pretty cool picture of what Jesus does for us. We don’t always bear fruit. We sometimes go through seasons where maybe we wander away, we lose focus, we are overwhelmed by difficult circumstances (among other things) and we don’t produce fruit. Because Jesus sees the potential in us, because He is able to see into our future, He picks us up, brings us into the light so we can learn to bear fruit again.

I’m sure there are times where a branch needs cut off, but Jesus also demonstrated compassion and care and picked up people who were struggling, hurt and bruised.

What a great reminder that The Vine doesn’t just look for branches to cut off, but invites us to stay connected to Him. He sees the potential fruit in us and picks us up so we can learn to once again bear fruit.

The Alternate Route

Trust the Process.  It’s a phrase you hear that applies to a number of situations.  It is also an apt description of the latest blog post from my daughter.

She is a senior in college and graduation is not far away.  In her post she shares about the struggle of just getting the grade in the class versus learning the content to be prepared for the job market and life.

She writes this near the beginning of the post:

I go to my first week of classes and listen to my professors say what I need to do to succeed in their courses.  They go over the syllabus and they talk about these things called the “course objectives.”  I almost always skip over this portion of the conversation and of this part of the syllabus, heading straight for the grading criteria, but in one of my classes a few weeks ago I really listened.  The course objectives aren’t what we are going to be doing in the class or what it takes to get an “A” but instead they are written to be a list concepts, skills, and applications that we will learn in the class.  Ohhhhhhh okay, learning.  That’s that old thing that they used to say school was all about.

Read the rest of her post and how she applies this idea to our walk with God.  Are we on this journey just to get the grade or are we trusting the process that will grow and shape us into the person God created us to be?

Read the whole post here:  The alternate route